Every school is still in the early stages of navigating the NIL era of college athletics. TCU's strategy: to be as blunt as possible with his boosters.
"Everybody lives in the gray area. Everybody in this room lives in the gray area," Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "The bottom line to it is we’re going to have to live in the gray area if we want to keep up.”
“The rules have changed," he said at another point. "There is no wrong anymore.”
Patterson claimed five SEC schools have reached out to a current, unnamed Horned Frogs freshman with guarantees of what he'd earn on their campus after a transfer.
“We’re going to have to be up and running for my group by the end of November,” Patterson said, “or I have a chance to lose 25, 30 guys. That’s as plain and simple as I can speak of it.”
The comments came in the wake of TCU's athletics department partnering with its business school in an effort to leverage the Fort Worth business community to put money in Horned Frogs' pockets. From the Star-Telegram:
The athletics department and business school will work together to support, guide and advise student-athletes. There will be optional workshops that student-athletes can attend as well as a three-hour summer class that counts toward an entrepreneurship minor. The program is being branded “Scaled to Succeed.”
TCU's story is the ultimate bootstraps tale of modern college athletics. Cast aside to the kid's table when the Southwest Conference broke up in the mid-1990s, the Frogs won their way back to the big time -- from the WAC, to Conference USA, to the Mountain West, a brief betrothal with the Big East, and then finally the ultimate destination, the Big 12.
Now the Big 12's place within college football's hierarchy is uncertain with Texas and Oklahoma leaving for the SEC, and Patterson warned his boosters that the castle they spent the last 25 years building could crumble overnight if they don't open their wallets once again.
“It takes more to stay where we’re at than it took to get here. We’ve done a lot to get here, but if you want to play at a very high level, what you have to understand is we’re going to have to do some things to make sure that we stay and keep growing. At the end of the day, what does that entail? We’re going to have learn but we’re going to learn it a lot faster than what everybody right now is willing to do.”